Last week it seemed Kaitaia's Christmas carnival would be abandoned in the face of insurmountable costs.
Te Hiku Community Board went a long way toward saving the day when it granted $4000 to the Far North Avocado Festival Trust, which organises the event and yesterday everything was back on track.
The carnival, which will be on Kaitaia's A&P; showgrounds on Saturday, December 1, will replace the traditional Santa parade through the main street, an event which spokesperson Shirley Williams said had become too expensive to stage and too dangerous given the foolish behaviour of some young people.
Fellow trust member Norm Bryan, who has been part of the parade since the 1970s, agreed last week that times had changed, and not for the better.
"Last year's parade cost us $23,000," he said. (This year's 'static' parade was expected to cost about $15,000).
"Now we're looking at selling Santa's float to pay for the lollies. I used to walk up one side of the street and down the other and the business people would donate the lollies.
"It's costing us $200 a year to store the float, but that's small change. Everything has become much more complicated and much more costly.
"Everything to do with the parade costs money - we used to put a couple of drums across each end of the street to keep the cars out but now we have to get the council's permission, and that's not cheap."
Mr Bryan said he was saddened by the process that had slowly evolved, making it more difficult to stage the parade every year.
"This is our culture, it's who we are," he said. It's very close to my heart, and I don't want to see it fall over because of a lack of money.
"Nothing is free these days except the spirit of Christmas, and we need to keep it."
Ms Williams said yesterday spirits had lifted considerably over recent days.
"Everyone wants it to go ahead, and it is going to," she said.
"The behaviour of some people has put paid to the Christmas parade we've had for so many years but we've organised a wonderful day on the showgrounds and it's cheaper than the parade."
Support from Te Hiku Community Board and the Oxford Trust had arrived in the nick of time, she said, but while the financial pressure had eased, anyone who wished to throw in a dollar or two would be most welcome to do so.
The only small cloud on the horizon yesterday was the dearth of floats - only five had been registered, and the organisers had their fingers crossed for another of the Far North's characteristic last-minute influxes.
The floats would be just as they had always been, although they would be static, Ms Williams said. And there would be plenty more to see and do.
Sixteen organisations would be setting up their own displays and all sorts of food would be for sale. Riding for the Disabled would be selling pony rides and go karts and bouncy castles were on order.
Sport Northland would be organising kids into cricket, netball and ki-o-rahi teams, Te Hiku Media would be in charge of the entertainment, which would lean heavily on local talent (possibly including a choir), and Santa would be welcoming visitors to his grotto.
'Kaitaia could do with a happy day like this right now," Ms Williams said.
"Things haven't been going so well here for a little while now, particularly over the last few weeks, and it will be nice to put our troubles behind us for a while and enjoy ourselves, and look forward to Christmas."